On the agenda for July's EconEdChat were 3 questions:
1) How are we approaching teaching for Year 13 next year?
Do teachers feel that current Year 12s are where they would normally expect students to be at this stage? Are teachers making any changes next year in light of this?
2) How can we improve essay writing in Economics?
How can we improve essay-writing across the ability spectrum? Do writing frames help or hinder? What individual skills do we need to teach to help students produce better essays?
3) Topic in Focus: How can we best teach Monetary Policy?
How do teachers introduce the topic? What elements of Monetary Policy do we teach, in what order and why? What misconceptions do students commonly hold about this topic?
This post focusses on the first (and most brief) question.
A quick poll of those present was really promising: 73% said they thought there Year 12s were in a comparable position to usual. 18% thought they were ahead of where students normally would be and just 9% said they thought students were behind where they normally would be.
One reason for this is that some of the usual end-of-year testing had been delayed until September, allowing some of the course content to be moved up. Study leave or exam periods, together with Uni open days and trips, can make the final term quite a disruptive one, and in the absence of some of these disruptions, students might have been able to progress through the course more quickly.
Of course, we need to take into account that schools are going to spend some time testing students in September and, as a result, progress through the course might be slower during this time, but these exam periods might not be quite as long as the typical end-of-year exam period.
I had been concerned that the achievement gap between pupils would have widened, but again, this generally isn't the case: just 18% thought that gap had widened, 27% thought it had stayed the same and 36% thought it had narrowed (18% couldn't say).
One reason for this might be the methods of assessment used during remote teaching. If we've focused on short-answer or MCQ testing during remote learning we might not see the variation that comes with longer answers.
Overall it is perhaps hard to judge where our students are at, even if they have sat some kind of formal assessment remotely.
In terms of responses, the order in which teachers are covering topics might be altered slightly to make the most of face-to-face teaching, but the generally the approach seems to be to continue high-quality teaching. In the case of this much uncertainty, planning for every possible outcome would be impossible, so having a flexible approach going forward is going to be important.
Econ Ed Chat takes place the first Wednesday of the month at 6pm BST. All welcome.